Johannes Brahms

Biography

Born: 1833   Died: 1897   Country: Germany   Period: Romantic
The stature of Johannes Brahms among classical composers is well illustrated by his inclusion among the "Three Bs" triumvirate of Bach, Beethoven, and Brahms. Of all the major composers of the late Romantic era, Brahms was the one most attached to the Classical ideal as manifested in the music of Haydn, Mozart, and especially Beethoven; indeed, Hans von Bülow once characterized Brahms' Symphony No. 1 (1855-1876) as "Beethoven's Tenth." As a Read more youth, Brahms was championed by Robert Schumann as music's greatest hope for the future; as a mature composer, Brahms became for conservative musical journalists the most potent symbol of musical tradition, a stalwart against the "degeneration" represented by the music of Wagner and his school. Brahms' symphonies, choral and vocal works, chamber music, and piano pieces are imbued with strong emotional feeling, yet take shape according to a thoroughly considered structural plan.

The son of a double bassist in the Hamburg Philharmonic Society, Brahms demonstrated great promise from the beginning. He began his musical career as a pianist, contributing to the family coffers as a teenager by playing in restaurants, taverns, and even brothels. Though by his early twenties he enjoyed associations with luminaries like violinists Eduard Reményi and Joseph Joachim, the friend and mentor who was most instrumental in advancing his career was Schumann, who all but adopted him and became his most ardent partisan, and their esteem was mutual. Following Schumann's death in 1856, Brahms became the closest confidant and lifelong friend of the composer's widow, pianist and composer Clara Wieck Schumann. After a life of spectacular musical triumphs and failed loves (the composer was involved in several romantic entanglements but never wed), Brahms died of liver cancer on April 3, 1897.

In every genre in which he composed, Brahms produced works that have become staples of the repertory. His most ambitious work, the German Requiem (1863-1867), is the composer's singular reinterpretation of an age-old form. The four symphonies -- lushly scored, grand in scope, and deeply expressive -- are cornerstones of the symphonic literature. Brahms' concertos are, similarly, in a monumental, quasi-symphonic vein: the two piano concertos (1856-1859 and 1881) and the Violin Concerto (1878) call for soloists with both considerable technical skill and stamina. His chamber music is among the most sophisticated and exquisitely crafted of the Romantic era; for but a single example, his works that incorporate the clarinet (e.g., the Trio in A minor, Op. 114 and the two Sonatas, Op. 120), an instrument largely overlooked by his contemporaries, remain unsurpassed. Though the piano sonata never held for Brahms the same appeal it had for Beethoven (Brahms wrote three to Beethoven's 32), he produced a voluminous body of music for the piano. He showed a particular affinity for variations -- notably, on themes of Schumann (1854), Handel (1861), and Paganini (1862-1863) -- and likewise produced a passel of national dances and character pieces such as ballades, intermezzi, and rhapsodies. Collectively, these constitute one of the essential bodies of work in the realm of nineteenth century keyboard music. Read less
Schumann, Bach & Brahms / Argerich, Perlman
Release Date: 09/30/2016   Label: Warner Classics  
Catalog: 557553   Number of Discs: 1
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For the Love of Brahms / Denk, Bell, Isserlis, ASMF
Release Date: 09/30/2016   Label: Sony  
Catalog: 532179   Number of Discs: 1
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Brahms: The Violin Sonatas / Tetzlaff, Vogt
Release Date: 08/12/2016   Label: Ondine  
Catalog: 1284   Number of Discs: 1
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Edition Staatskapelle Dresden, Vol. 40: Weber, Beethoven, Brahms / Haitink, Zimmerman
Release Date: 01/13/2017   Label: Profil  
Catalog: 09036   Number of Discs: 2
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Brahms & Berg: Works for Clarinet & Piano / Paci, Tchorzewski
Release Date: 01/13/2017   Label: Vermeer  
Catalog: 40009   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Concerto for Violin in D major, Op. 77

Browse 201-204 of 204 Available Recordings
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  • 201.
    Brahms, Bruch: Violin Concertos / Nishizaki, Gunzenhauser
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8550195 Release Date: 06/30/1992   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Max Bruch,  Johannes Brahms
    Performer:  Takako Nishizaki
    Conductor:  Stephen Gunzenhauser
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 202.
    The Great Violin Concertos / Yehudi Menuhin
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 67310 Release Date: 07/05/1991   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Felix Mendelssohn  ... 
    Performer:  Christian Ferras,  Yehudi Menuhin
    Conductor:  Yehudi Menuhin,  Constantin Silvestri,  Efrem Kurtz,  Rudolf Kempe  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bath Festival Orchestra,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra  ... 
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  • 203.
    Brahms: Violin Concerto / Kennedy, Tennstedt, London PO
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 54187 Release Date: 03/15/1991   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms
    Performer:  Nigel Kennedy
    Conductor:  Klaus Tennstedt
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 204.
    Great Violin Concertos / Mutter, Karajan, Berlin Po
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 415565 Release Date: 10/25/1990   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Johannes Brahms,  Max Bruch,  Felix Mendelssohn  ... 
    Performer:  Anne-Sophie Mutter
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
    CD: $43.99
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